Tips for living well with a chronic illness
Living with a chronic health concern is often a lifetime deal, as many have no specific “cure”. Why not take the proactive approach and manage your situation instead of just responding to symptoms that arise?
Tips for living well
- Do a little research – make an appointment with your primary healthcare provider and present a list of questions. Go to reputable websites for further information (.org, .med).
- Be involved in your own care – monitor and note things about your body and symptoms. You know your body better than anyone.
- Be assertive – don’t let your concerns be brushed off.
- Be a team player – when it comes to your complete well-being, no single healthcare provider can know it all. Seek support from various professionals (nurse, therapist, registered dietitian, etc.) to make your challenges more manageable.
- Make the changes –dealing with health challenges can mean making significant changes to your lifestyle. Step up to the plate and make them. After all, this is your health. Though it may be hard, it is definitely worth it.
- Misery loves company – ok, maybe not misery, but that old adage can ring true. When dealing with challenges, it is often a comfort to have companionship. Why not get your partner or family involved in the changes you make? Their wellbeing is also important.
- Drugs, drugs, drugs – why, when, how and what are the questions of the day. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for up-to-date information about your meds and how to take them. Report any adverse reaction immediately.
- Staying on top – be proactive. Any significant changes or reactions should be reported to your healthcare team.
- Get physical – in some cases physical activity can seem like a bad idea but for many with chronic disease it is very beneficial. A well-planned, supervised exercise program can help with flexibility, mobility, appetite, weight, mood, sleep, and pain. Check with your healthcare team regarding the safety of exercise for you.
- Be kind to yourself– It’s okay to be fed up or annoyed some days. We all have off days.
- Learn how to say NO – Sometimes you just have to say no, as hard as that might be. People will understand and know you are saying no to this incident not to everything.
- ASK – although it can be very difficult and intimidating, ask for help when you need it.
- Put it all on paper – Part of living well through your illness is planning for the future. No, it’s not morbid and, frankly, writing your end-of-life wishes down (medical and otherwise) can save heartache and stress for you and your loved ones. Living Wills and Powers of Attorney can be done quite easily.
- Enlist extra support – sometimes family, friends and health professionals just aren’t fitting the bill. There are many fine programs and support groups out there that can be helpful in dealing with your chronic issue. Consider also getting help with day-to-day tasks to lighten your load.